When it pours, these 6 jackets reign
By Dave Shively
1. Helly Hansen Ekolab Recycler: Helly Hansen's Recycler sports a minimalist style with water-resistant pit and chest-pocket zips mounted high-so you can access them when wearing a PFD, while showing off HH's responsible manufacturing: This weather warrior features 3-layer Helly Tech waterproof/breathable ripstop nylon from recycled plastic water bottles. Stretch fabric in the shoulders and elbows and the light weight (less than 18 ounces) make this a mile-crunching must ($300, hellyhansen.com).
2. NRS Sea Tour: This improved jacket, which provides more-than-ample wet weather protection with HyproTex 2.5-layer waterproof/breathable nylon fabric, fleece-lined chin, and urethane hook-and-loop wrist closures suffers one drawback: Once you get this solid, yet lightweight jacket on, you'll have a tough time leaving it with the rest of your boating gear rather than making it your go-to rain layer ($195, nrsweb.com).
3. Kokatat Gore-Tex Pullover: Kokatat revamps a shell with design driven by a paddler's needs. Take the wide-brimmed, rollaway storm hood with adjustments on sides and back combined with the adjustable, Lycra-coated inner splash collar as an example. The Pullover provides complete and custom-fitting head and neck coverage from the cold. Add splash cuffs, adjustable neoprene waistband, sleeve pocket plus the long-lasting, sealed seams of Gore-Tex 2-layer Paclite laminate, and you're covered for any wicked weather a weekend excursion can dish out ($235, kokatat.com).
4. Peak UK Multi-Sport Jacket: Peak UK offers a hoodless, versatile layer that rides a little longer in the torso, ready to be taken from one sport to another, say, right from the bike to the lake or river, made with taped seams of durable 2.5-layer, waterproof/breathable ripstop nylon. It also boasts a cozy fleece-lined collar and well-articulated arms ($120, peakukus.com).
5. Patagonia Torrentshell: For an affordable, superlight emergency weather insurance option, Patagonia's 11.5-ounce Torrentshell packs tight into a self-storage pocket, then unfolds into a waterproof/breathable shell (2.5-layer H2No ripstop nylon with Deluge DWR) with a two-way adjustable hood, microfleece-lined neck and chin, and DWR-treated pit and center zips with storm flaps ($119, patagonia.com).
6. Level Six Superior: If the words extreme or exposure enter your trip vocab, consider the stout Superior. When the temps drop below zero, you'll appreciate the Expedition surface DWR-treated eXhaust 3-ply waterproof/breathable laminate nylon base to this burly outer layer. Extras include a removable, stashable and adjustable hood, neoprene neck gasket and neoprene-cuffed latex wrist gaskets, double waist tunnel and well-placed chest pockets ($320, levelsixinc.com).